UNC (5-5, 3-3 ACC) at Duke (8-2, 4-2 ACC)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Wallace Wade Stadium
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PPG: UNC 35.9; Duke 32.9
Allowed: UNC 41.2; Duke 18.1
When UNC has the ball
Junior quarterback Marquise Williams has rushed for a touchdown in each of the past five games and for five in the past two games. Williams had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season (122 yards) in last week’s 40-35 win over Pitt.
Running back T.J. Logan had a season-best 92 yards on 18 carries and touchdown vs. Pitt, while receiver Quinshad Davis (a season-high six catches) showed some signs of life in a disappointing season.
The Tar Heels have averaged 31.3 points per ACC game, which ranks only behind Florida State and Georgia Tech in conference play. Duke’s defense has been on average almost two touchdowns better at home than on the road but will have its hands full with Williams.
When Duke has the ball
70, 50, 50, 27, 47. That’s how many points UNC has given up in five road games this season. That works out to an average of 48.8 per game, four of which, not surprisingly, were losses.
The Tar Heels struggle in particular on third down. Opponents have converted 74 of 150 third-down chances (49.3 percent) this season, which ranks 124th (out of 128 teams) in the country.
Duke’s offense has been one of the worst in the country (94th) on third down, converting only 36.8 percent of its chances.
Senior quarterback Anthony Boone struggled in last week’s 17-16 loss to Virginia Tech with two interceptions and 181 passing yards on 40 attempts. But Boone had one of his better games last season at UNC with 274 passing yards, two touchdowns – both to senior receiver Jamison Crowder, who has scored at least one touchdown in every game he has played against UNC.
Duke’s offense is not great, and certainly not at the level a perfectionist like David Cutcliffe would like it to be at, but UNC’s defense has a tendency to bring out the best in its opponents.
Duke senior Ross Martin picked an inopportune time to miss his first two field goals of the season in last week’s one-point loss to Virginia Tech. Martin had made his first 13 attempts and all 38 of his PATs before the Virginia Tech game.
UNC’s kicking game has been disastrous. The Tar Heels have the fewest made field goals (five) in the ACC and worst field goal percentage in the ACC (5 of 10).
Both Ryan Switzer for UNC and Crowder for Duke are capable of changing the game with a punt return. The question is will either get the chance.
Duke is playing for the Coastal Division title; UNC is playing for bowl eligibility.
Duke is playing for a three-game winning streak in the rivalry, which would be only the second since 1960, while UNC is playing to avoid a three-game losing streak in the rivalry.
Cutcliffe is trying to become the first Duke coach to beat UNC twice in Durham since Bill Murray did it in the 1950s.
UNC coach Larry Fedora, who is winless against Duke, has a propensity to empty the playbook in such games (N.C. State, ECU or Duke) with gadget plays, fake punts and unusual 2-point conversions.
Duke 27, UNC 22